Blackberry Smoke, a delicious new vape flavour available from all good…..no, that’s not right. We are, of course, referring to the Blackberry Smoke, foremost purveyors of 70’s Lynyrd Skynyrd worship and a bona fide institution after significantly paying their dues since forming in 2000.
We admit, the Skynyrd comparison is obvious and lazy but there really are moments on Like An Arrow that rewind the clock back to the mid-70’s and the mellower sounds found on classic albums Nuthin’ Fancy and Gimme Back My Bullets. Warming, eloquent, devoid of pretension and stacked to the rafters with quality tunes, Like An Arrow may fall just short of those quintessential releases but in 2016, you’ll get no closer to the glory days than spending nearly an hour with Charlie Starr and the Blackberry Smoke boys.
“Waiting for the Thunder” is the ideal opener, raining down riffs in classic rock ‘n’ roll fashion before the foot-stomping southern boogie of “Let It Burn” kicks off a hoedown of the highest order. It’s exactly what you’d expect but delivered with such confidence and ease that familiarity is superseded by a mile-wide grin.
Album highlight, “Workin’ For The Workin’ Man” carry’s that weight of a workin’ man’s burden and stomps its way through 3 mins of classic southern swagger, while the elements of funk found on “Believe You Me” take the Smoke sound into ever groovier waters.
It all adds up to a great release and Like An Arrow shoots straight with 12 soulful and southern soaked new flavours. A fine cameo from the Allman Brothers Band’s very own Gregg Allman – on closing track “Free On The Wing” – adds yet more class and exemplifies the legitimate passing of the torch to a now legendary band in Southern rock circles. 8/10